[alt-photo] Re: AUUGGHH... Restarting and new decisions... Need advise.

Diana Bloomfield dhbloomfield at bellsouth.net
Thu Dec 31 05:16:44 GMT 2009

Hey Judy,

Happy New Year.  :)

I forgot to mention in my last email, and since you quoted it, in  
part, I'll just add here that . . . when I'm not renting fancy lenses  
and using my nice medium format lens cameras, I am actually--  
mostly--  using oatmeal boxes/tins or old tobacco tins (with nice  
magnets for my shutter), or -- more likely-- black foam-core cameras  
that cost me about $3 to make-- all with no lenses, of course-- but  
still using film-- and they have served me very well.  And when I'm  
not using those, I have a slew of toy cameras with their plastic  
lenses that I love *almost* as much.  And I absolutely agree that gum,  
or some other alt process, used in conjunction with these wonderfully  
dream-like negatives tend to produce far more interesting images than  
the best lens/camera can.   I've certainly never been one for tack  
sharpness, though I do admire a well built lens and camera.

Regardless--  if we want to make relatively large alt process contact  
images (larger than 4x5)-- we're still in the business of making  
digital negatives-- aren't we?  The only alternatives I can think of  
are to stick with photograms, or make images on a scanner using no  
camera, or simply make small prints (and I've sure done that, too)--   
or schlep around with large format cameras all the time.  I do have a  
20x24 pinhole camera (using 20x24 film) I often use, but being a one- 
shot deal, I find myself photographing very close to home, and I've  
pretty much covered the back yard . . so, it's nice to have other  
options.  If someone knows another way around all this, I'd sure love  
to hear about it.  Getting back to larger contact prints via the use  
of digital negatives, you still have to have a printer and a scanner  
(unless  you want to pay someone else an exorbitant price to do all  
that for you).  Am I missing anything?

Anyway,  I don't know what anybody else does, but to help pay for my  
own lensless (and plastic lens) addiction, those actual paying  
photographic jobs sure come in handy.  Not surprisingly, these  
particular people don't often go for my plastic lens/ lensless  
aesthetic, so I have to use something else, and usually that something  
includes a big old glass lens and a "good" camera.  But for my own  
artwork-- I hear you, Judy, and I couldn't agree more.  Still-- if I  
had beaucoup money to purchase a medium format digital camera, I'd  
probably bite the bullet and just do it.

How's that for a little tergiversation?  :)


On Dec 30, 2009, at 11:18 PM, Judy Seigel wrote:

> On Wed, 30 Dec 2009, Diana Bloomfield wrote:
>> Hey David,
>> I'm intrigued with your questions and only wish I could seriously  
>> contemplate whether to buy a Leica M9 or a medium format digital  
>> camera.
>> I have a Canon 5D, which has been terrific for when I'm being paid  
>> to photograph people.  It's fast, does the job well enough, and--  
>> in the end-- everybody seems satisfied and happy.  I recently  
>> rented the Canon 85mm 1.2 lens for a job, and it was a dream.  I  
>> really loved it and loved the results. Honestly, it made me like  
>> the camera better-- which makes me think I just haven't been using  
>> the right lens.
>> For my own artwork, though, I rarely use that camera-- mainly,  
>> because-- in the end-- I just don't like the format. I find myself  
>> cropping to square, or something close to it, all the time.
> I've been reading this thread, and (as it were) biting my tongue to  
> not say what I'm thinking -- then I figured, oh hell, say it -- what  
> will they do, fly out on their 85mm xp-1 and sneer at me? (Which  
> I've been assured
> is rarely fatal.)
> Maybe it's just because I don't know a lot of what they're talking  
> about, so I figure all the tergiversation (real word) about camera x  
> or y to print d or f in format box or canoe, is useless, because....  
> it assumes digital (or whichever) prints aimed at utmost advanced  
> printness of the moment, with a mandate for perfect whichever.  Does/ 
> will anyone next year or next decade give a damn?  They could sneer  
> at today's format & every one of our digitons and its mother, no  
> matter how perfectly "correct" our set-up as conceived & executed by  
> (our/their/someone's current standards.... next year will probably  
> be full of something else.
> So permit me to suggest -- print the damn thing in gum: Then add 3  
> or 4 coats and colors and washes and inventions and.... however it  
> comes out: THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT YOU INTENDED !  And defy the world to  
> match the glory of your (fake) lens and magic (added) color.  
> Because, as we know, there's always something new in technical  
> perfection or advanced digitation or bicameron lens or aesthetic  
> imperative of correctness to keep a photographer so preoccupied and  
> distracted s/he forgets what transfixed him/her in the first place  
> (whatever it was, I forget now).  Anyway, the next generation will  
> probably sneer because we were so off the mark about telepathy.
> (Though, now that you mention it, I had the perfect oatmeal box last  
> week -- too bad I threw it out... but I'll definitely save the next  
> one.)
> J.
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